Heir to fortune is a Communist: the bizarre tale of Fergie Chambers

I was unaware of the strange, twisted, twisting story of Fergie Chambers — he is both heir to one of the largest family fortunes in America… AND he's a hardcore Communist. Cognitive dissonance here I come. Rolling Stone has a fascinating, in-depth profile of Chambers and it's as full of weird contradictions, big ideas, and creepy behavior as you'd expect. It's like Jeffrey Goines, Brad Pitt's character from 12 Monkeys, came to life: the rich kid who just wants to burn it all down.

In the past year, Chambers has gone from being an angsty political radical with a few million dollars at his disposal to one who's in the process of extracting at least $250 million from [the family business] Cox [Communications], which he's committed to using to build socialist and anti-imperialist infrastructure.

Obviously I understand anyone who rails against capitalism, its gross inequalities, its destruction of the environment, its tendency to dehumanize and exploit its workforce. But I really, truly, deeply cannot understand anyone who looks around and decides the best solution to America's problems is a murderous dictator.

Chambers' socialism isn't a mild "Bernie Bro" vision of expanded social-welfare programs and stronger labor unions. He identifies as a Marxist-Leninist. He lionizes Stalin and Mao and has tattoos of both on his thigh. 

Who's he got tattooed on his ass — Pol Pot? The Emperor from Star Wars? Stalin and Mao literally killed and starved to death tens of millions of their own people, most of whom were poor peasants. This guy is a living, breathing ad for a massive inheritance tax (which would actually go much farther toward solving inequality than a Communist revolution.)

This is long form journalism at its best — researched and thoughtful and introduces the reader to a fascinating, complicated character.

Previously: Lenin and Stalin still have a posse